25 Jun 2010

Gillard unlikely to change Australia's Pacific policy

7:47 am on 25 June 2010

An Australian-based think tank on international policy says the change of leadership in that country will not result in any significant change of policy in the Pacific.

Julia Gillard has been sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Australia after Kevin Rudd stood down as leader of the ruling Labor Party this morning.

Lisa Roberts, from the Myer Foundation at the Lowy Institute, says the new leader will focus on domestic issues such as the mining tax and emissions trading scheme, which contributed to Mr Rudd's unpopularity.

"With regard to Australia's relationship with Pacific Island states, we believe it will be business as usual. Ms Gillard will take on the role of chair of the Pacific Island Forum. Rudd did little in his time as chair, so we hope that Gillard will use the last couple of months that Australia is chairing the Forum more proactively than Rudd has done."

Lisa Roberts says she hopes Ms Gillard's government will do more to progress the Pacific Island guest worker scheme which has failed to get off the ground.